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US Bans Beluga Caviar Imports from Caspian and Black Seas

Statement from Caviar Emptor, as well as relevant links
October 28, 2005

Caviar Emptor Press contacts:
Shannon Crownover, 1-202-470-2468 shannon@seaweb.org, or
Julia Roberson, 33-6-76-51-48-08 jroberson@seaweb.org.

Caviar Emptor is pleased to announce a victory for beluga sturgeon protection in the United States. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned beluga caviar imports from the Black Sea after taking the same action with the Caspian states one month ago. There is now a complete shut down on the beluga caviar trade with the United States, which has been the world's largest importer of the delicacy for many years (60%).

Our coalition believes the ban will provide much-needed relief for beluga sturgeon, a 200-million-year-old species that has lost 90% of its population in just 20 years. Caviar Emptor commends the U.S. government for enforcing the rules governing beluga sturgeon's status as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The ban has been imposed because the beluga sturgeon is on the brink of extinction, and Black and Caspian states have failed to develop a plan that would lead to its survival.

Caviar Emptor now urges CITES and Europe, the second largest importer of beluga caviar, to make the same demand as the United States. Caspian and Black Sea states must commit to a recovery plan for beluga sturgeon or face a ban on trade with additional countries. Time is running out for the beluga sturgeon, but it can be saved if the global community comes to the beluga's aid by curtailing demand for its precious eggs and by providing desperately needed scientific expertise and technical assistance to ensure that the Black and Caspian states design a comprehensive plan for the restoration of this living fossil.

Dawn Martin
Executive Director
SeaWeb

Dr. Ellen Pikitch
Executive Director
Pew Institute for Ocean Science

Lisa Speer
Senior Policy Analyst
Natural Resources Defense Council

 

Service Suspends Trade in Threatened Beluga Sturgeon from the Caspian Sea Basin
Service Suspends Trade in Threatened Beluga Sturgeon
New York Times Coverage

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